NTSB Identification: WPR09FA437B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 09, 2009 in Coolidge, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/15/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-161, registration: N994T
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious,2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Both airplanes involved in the mid-air collision were on simulated instrument meteorological conditions training flights in visual flight rules conditions. Both lesson profiles called for the pilot in the left-seat to wear a vision-restricting instrument training hood, while the pilot in the right seat acted as a safety/lookout pilot. The airplanes were being operated in an area of high density student training. The left seat pilot of the Piper had just rolled out of a right turn associated with the entry to a practice holding pattern to a non-controlled airport. The left-seat pilot of the Cessna had departed a non-controlled airport and was in an en route climb to the cruise altitude, at which he would return to his home airport. Neither airplane was receiving radar traffic advisories, nor was either in contact with a controlling Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facility. The pilots in the Piper said that they were monitoring the designated practice area frequency, and had heard no other airplanes in the immediate area. The survivor in the Cessna could not clearly remember if he had been making position calls on the practice area frequency, but his radio was found set to that frequency and he said that he had been trained to make such calls. The Cessna was on a magnetic ground track of about 265 degrees, and the Piper had rolled out on a course intercept heading of 288 degrees about 10 to 15 seconds prior to the collision. The collision took place at 4,500 feet. During the collision sequence, the Cessna's right wing penetrated the lower left engine cowl of the Piper, and the Piper's left main landing gear wheel and tire impacted the right side of the Cessna's aft fuselage. After the impact, during which a portion of the Cessna's right wing and tail section separated, the Cessna entered an uncontrolled descent into the terrain and the pilots in the Piper executed a power-off forced landing. The weather at the time was reported as clear skies with 10 miles visibility. Neither safety/lookout pilot saw the other airplane prior to the collision.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The failure of both safety/spotter pilots to see and avoid the other airplane.

Full narrative available

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